I respect this fellow, and asked him if I could share his personal experience here as well. It makes a salient point about wearing gear, and while we may all agree that good gear is important, this puts a graphic, and disturbing realism to the whole thing. It's not about a motorcycle crash, it's about a head injury, but close enough to what we do and enjoy....
"Some of you know that several years ago I suffered a fall at work. Fell 20 feet onto cement landing on my head and right shoulder. Broke fingers, ribs, shoulder, and fractured my skull in over a dozen places. Fortunately, I have been one of the tremendously lucky ones and made a very good recovery, where others might have been killed or permanently disabled. Still, the recovery has taken tremendous effort and I would not want anyone else to have to go through the experience. Let me tell you what it is like to smash your melon. A little bit of Hell. You never want it to happen to you. You never want to risk it, not even for a minute. For the most part, I am preaching to the converted, but for those who might be waffling, please, please wear a proper helmet every time you straddle your bike.
Otherwise, here is what you might be dealing with when you break your head. It won't take much either. Cement, asphalt, guard rails, trees, and other vehicles are very unforgiving.
If you are fortunate, you will wake up days later in ICU. Your memory for a day or so before the accident and for several days after the accident will be lost forever. Just as well, things weren't pretty. You have a catheter, IV's, and an assortment of other medical devices stuffed in you. You have scared the crap out of family and friends, some of whom are gathered around you. You are hardly recognizable as your head has swollen up so badly. The pressure has bugged your eyes out so far that your eyelids have started to turn inside out. You are black and blue all around your eyes, around your ears and down the sides of your head, to where the blood has obviously pooled in you neck and jowls. Luckily, the pressure of your swelling brain came out through the numerous cracks in your skull; otherwise they would have cut a piece out of your skull for relief, to be stapled back in later. If they didn't deal with the pressure in time, it would have built up inside your skull cavity to where it put enough pressure on your spinal cord to end your life. Now the doctors are deciding whether or not they will have to put a plate or plates in your skull to keep all the pieces together. And talking about the best way to replace the one ear and part of your scalp that disintegrated while you skidded along the asphalt. No one can understand what you are trying to say for many days. It takes that long for your speech center to begin working right. That really worried your wife. When they finally let you get up several weeks later, you are anxious to finally get that damn catheter out. But your motor skills are all messed up. You barely make it to the bathroom, even with help. Soon you get used to dragging your IB rack along with you, everywhere you go. It takes a month just to learn to walk again. You wonder if you are ever going to ride again. Folks this is just for starters. Actually, most victims of serious head trauma end up with some type or types of permanent brain injuries. Ones that might not only change their physical abilities, but may also change mental capacity and personality, often resulting in job loss or changes, and huge family and other relationship issues. For most, the financial and emotional costs add up to be staggering. Even unbearable for some. Believe me, now when I see other riders not wearing a helmet, I cringe inside. Did I ever exercise my freedom of choice "in the old days" and not wear my helmet. Yup, on the rare occasion. Was that a stupid, selfish and irresponsible choice? Absolutely! Will I ever ride without a helmet again? Never!!